New Fantasyland, with the exception of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Coaster, is basically fully open now, as of Friday. I'll have reports on each of the main buildings, shops, attractions, and restaurants... but I'm going to start with the Hidden History tribute that's new in the land (this is fitting, since I wrote the book on such homages!) Note: there's also a tribute to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea sub ride that once occupied this land, in the form of a Nautilus sub shape in the queue for Under the Sea.
It's in the Bonjour Village Gifts shop--a portrait on the back wall that is easily identified as a painting of the current Magic Kingdom president, Phil Holmes.
Phil was an opening-day Cast Member, so he has been there for 41 years. At Disney, you are feasted and given trinkets when you hit 5-year milestones, so Phil's last big milestone was 40. Fittingly, the painted Phil sports a ring with a 40 on it. And high up on the shelf sits a bronze Donald figurette, which is the giveaway trinket for the 40th Anniversary Service Award.
There are other items on the desk that remind of his tenure at the Magic Kingdom: peanuts for the new Storybook Circus, an apple for the closed Snow White dark ride, a lamp for the Aladdin spinner ride, and a Magic Kingdom park map, complete with a land labeled "Mickey's Toontown" (not Mickey's Toontown Fair--though it does look like the Magic Kingdom rather than Disneyland, so this one is hard to reason why).
Over Phil's shoulder is the Haunted Mansion wallpaper pattern--appropriate, since he worked on the Mansion on the park's first operating day in 1971.
There is some precedent for honoring a park president with a tribute; Jack Lindquist was honored with a fake pumpkin in his likeness when he retired as Disneyland's first president.
Say hi to Phil on your visit to New Fantasyland!
Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.